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Kiese Laymon is the Ottilie Schillig Professor in English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. His keynote address will cover the topic, "What unites us?" His recent memoir “Heavy” has been recognized as a top book by multiple outlets, including The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly. It has been honored with several of the highest awards in literature, including the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. "Heavy" describes, often with brutal honesty, the successes, failures, happiness and sadness of growing up as an overweight black child in Jackson, and the adult that upbringing eventually created. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker and Mark Twain. Besides “Heavy,” he is also the author of the groundbreaking essay collection “How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America” and the genre-defying novel “Long Division.” He is also working on another novel, “And So On.” In addition to Gawker, Laymon has written for Esquire, Guernica, The Oxford American, Lit Hub and many others. A graduate of Oberlin College, he holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Indiana University.
Laymon, Kiese and University of Mississippi. Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, "Kiese Laymon. Honors Spring Convocation 2020" (2020). Honors College Convocation. 9.